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Trees hamper Malacca International Airport

Wednesday May 20, 2009

By ALLISON LAI

MALACCA: The state will acquire 2.48ha at the edge of the newly-extended Malacca International Airport in Batu Berendam to clear trees seen to hamper the airport's operations.

This was among several defects discussed by Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Ali Rustam at a meeting here to iron out teething problems before the RM131mil airport is fully utilised in November. .

"I was under the impression that the problems had to do with the runway's gradient and airplane capabilities.

"But Department of Civil Aviation (DCA) officials informed me that the oil palm trees were a problem," he told reporters after visiting the Serkam Halal Hub in Jasin recently.

He said the DCA had also informed him that part of Tesco Hypermart's warehouse in the state's heavy vehicle terminal nearby exceeded the height limit.

"A committee headed by the state secretary has been formed and to resolve the issues," he said, adding that the DCA would now sit in the city's One Stop Centre. he said after making a day tour to Kenyir Lake yesterday.

Mohd Ali lashed out at state and airport officials, including contractors, for poor coordination of the airport project resulting in the teething problems.

The project to build a new terminal and extend the 1,362m runway to 1,800m was launched in April 2007. However, only 1,476m of the runway is being used because of obstructions, including the trees at the edge of the airport.

Mohd Ali said the 1,800m runway would be operational by Sept 1 with Firefly launching its inaugural flight from Malacca to Singapore with its ATR72 aircraft.

An additional RM60mil will be spent to extend the runaway to 2,135m to allow fully-loaded Boeing 737 and Airbus A320 aircraft to land at the airport by November.

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